Falls Creek Falls | Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Trailhead Location: 45.905797, -121.939906
Parking Fee: Yes
Location: Washington
Land type: USFS National Forest
Length: 6.2 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1875 ft.
Highest Point: 2390 ft.
Loop/OnB: Loop
Year Round: No
Best Month: 5
Popular: Yes
Waterfall: Yes
Lake: No
Stream: Yes
View: Yes
Old Growth: Yes
Backpacking: Yes
Fishing: Yes
Bicycles: Yes
Dogs: Yes
Horses: Yes

The Hike

Falls Creek begins 7.5 miles away from the trailhead, as the crow flies, near Red Mountain in the Indian Heaven Wilderness and pours into the Wind River just 1/2 mile downstream. Being feed by numerous springs bubbling up from the basaltic geology of the region. Indian Heaven likely get's its name from the bountiful resources, especially huckleberries in the area. As you ramble along on this hike you'll likely see plenty of huckleberries yourself.

After a short while on trail 152A you'll cross a narrow gorge on a suspension bridge, take a minute to look at the carved rock walls. Continue slowly gaining elevation until you reach the bottom of the spectacular lower falls. You can only see the bottom two of the three tiers that make up this 335 foot waterfall. To see that last 109 feet you'll have to backtrack and power up a connector trail to trail 152.

This section was recently maintained by WTA, previously it was a scramble, consider throwing a donation their way to help with their efforts. You'll come to the spur that leads to a cliffs edge and a scramble down to the brink of the falls. Take you time and be careful if you decide to go down. While at the brink enjoy a snack as it's a wonderful spot with nothing to hear by the roar of the creek.

Once you climb back up to the trail continue SE on a pleasant walk thru the woods until you reach the 6 foot tall upper falls. If you didn't have a snack earlier the upper falls is a calm area with ample seating on downed log's to fuel up before the hike down. If you're hiking here in Late May keep your eyes open for native roses and plenty of bunchberry.

On the way down I suggest you stay on trail 152 for the scenery, however keeps your ears open for cyclist. This section is an extremely popular shuttle route for mountain bikers. They were all courteous when I was hiking, but it can still be a bit jarring to hear a shout coming from behind you as you hike down.

Also note that FR 3062 is closed 2.5 miles from the parking lot from December 1st thru April 1st, regardless of the amount of snow.This could make it a good option for an early season bike & hike or a winter time ski trip, but will add another 5 miles round trip to your excursion.


The first known residence of this area were known as the Chilluckittequw and lived along rivers of the area. Lewis and Clark encountered these Chinookian tribes on their voyage down the Columbia in 1805.

The national forest has it's origins in the 1890's when the Pacific and Rainier forest reserves were established. A few decades later President Theodore Roosevelt and Forester Gifford Pinchot created the Rainier National Forest and then split the southern chunk off in 1908 as the Columbia National Forest. Finally in 1949 the forest was renamed to honor Gifford Pinchot who passed away in 1946.